Five sweet ways to teach your baby empathy and compassion

Phil kissing one of my best friends' daughter when she was crying.

Phil kissing one of my best friends' daughter when she was crying.

I'm not sure if teaching is the right word for what I'm trying to say. I strongly believe that inherently, we are all born with compassion and empathy etched deep into our genes, minds and hearts.

When I took Phil to visit Mel, one of my best friends' daughter, Phil ran over to give Mel a kiss when she started crying. We did not prompt him to do so. Hearing Mel cry brought Phil to her side. This small, beautiful baby intrigued my toddler, and he didn't hesitate to comfort her when she cried. Seeing this warmed my heart. My son, at 16 months, is compassionate and empathetic. 

Did my husband and I, or his grandparents, teach him empathy, compassion, and to be a caring baby? Or was he just born this way? I believe it's a bit of both and here are five sweet ways to teach, show, and grow empathy and compassion in your child.

1. Love him. Every chance you have, kiss him. Hug him. Even if he pushes you away to play with his fun toys. Tell him you love him. This starts on day one when he's born and never ends, no matter how old or big he is.

2. Love others. Show your baby how much you love your spouse and others. Kiss and hug (watch out for PDA) your spouse in front of your baby. Snuggle with both your spouse and baby in bed. Whenever Phil sees mommy and daddy kissing, he cracks up and hugs our legs.

3. Praise kind and sweet gestures. When Phil kisses himself in the mirror, hugs his toys, and kisses his teddy bear, we praise him. When he shows us affection, we return the favor and praise him for being so loving.

4. Comfort him. When he's crying, in pain, or sad, comfort him. He'll learn to do the same. When Phil bumps his head and touches the hurt spot, I kiss his boo-boo and I can tell that he really appreciates my affection and concern.

5. Maintain peace in the home. Let's raise our boys (and of course girls) right, starting with providing them with a peaceful and loving household. 

How do you promote empathy and compassion in your children? Share your thoughts!